The city of Hamburg may conjure up images of big, juicy burgers (or is that just us?), but don’t forget that it’s also one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations… for good reason. Fusing old and new, Hamburg is just one of those cities that satisfies all, from history and museum buffs to those who just want to get their party on.
Experience the city via a cruise from the Hafen Hamburg and then head straight over to Alster Arkaden for some luxe buys and mesmerising architecture. If you’re up for a wilder experience, hit up Große Freiheit for some rowdy clubs and some rather unusual and sexy venues. If that’s not your thang, visit the Museum für Völkerkunde (Museum of Ethnology) for some Hamburg-style history and world culture.
Hamburg’s Top 10
10. Tierpark Hagenbeck Hamburg’s zoo is home to everything from stingrays to meerkats. And a killer restaurant.
5. Reeperbahn Visit Hamburg’s red-light district for a bit of raunch. The clubs and bars at this place are legendary.
9. Hamburg Dungeon Head here for a unique look at the scarier side of the city’s history.
4. St. Michaelis It doesn’t look like too much from the outside, but the beautiful interior will blow you away.
8. Planten un Blomen Witness nature at its best at this park/botanical garden. Visit during the warmer months for the spectacular water and light shows.
3. Miniatur Wunderland This miniature city is a big attraction. It’s ridiculously cute and pretty damn cool. Bring the kids.
7. Kunsthalle Hipsters and art/photography lovers will love it here.
2. Hamburg Museum Some of the exhibits have to be seen to be believed.
6. St. Nikolai Once one of the most majestic churches in the city, but now in ruins. A memorial to WWII.
1. Europa Passage Shop your caboose off at this mammoth shopping centre.
- Town Hall – This 100-year-old building in Hamburg is an interesting example of German architecture.
- Church of St Michael – One of Hamburg’s most famous landmarks.
- Alter Elbtunnel – Take an eerie, quiet walk through this famous Hamburg tunnel.
- Deichstrasse – This 14th-century Hamburg neighborhood features restored houses and interesting architecture.
- Chile House – This architectural marvel is one of the main attractions in Hamburg.
Hamburg Art and Culture
- Miniatur Wunderland – A wonderful museum for children.
- St Nikolai Memorial – The nearly 500ft spire can be seen from all over Hamburg.
- Warehouse District – Unique architecture will take you back to the Hamburg of the past.
- Deichtorhallen – This art museum features photography from local Hamburg artists and international photographers.
- Museum of Art and Industry – This Hamburg museum was founded in the late 1800s.
- Jungfernstieg – This Hamburg street is known for its collection of fashion stores.
- Innenalster – Travelers in Hamburg can find a wide variety of shops and restaurants at this inner port.
- Moenckebergstrasse Shopping – High-end shopping district with unique offerings.
- Europa Passage – This small Hamburg shopping mall has a beautiful arched glass roof.
- Elfenreich – This small shop features offers a collection of unique items hard to find outside of Hamburg.
Gay and Lesbian Hamburg
- Old St Georg District – A wide selection of GLBT-friendly bars and clubs in this area.
- Lange Reihe – A street known for its selection of gay-owned cafes and restaurants.
- Bellini – A friendly spot in Hamburg for gays and lesbians to gather for a cocktail.
- La Strada – A friendly bar in Hamburg that mostly caters to gay men but is open to all types of clientele.
- Hamburg Leather Party – This mid-August event brings men to Hamburg from all over Europe.
- Aussenalster – This neighborhood has a number of walking paths for those looking for a stroll in Hamburg.
- St Pauli – Known for being the home of Hamburg’s nightlife, this interesting neighborhood makes for a unique walk whether you are participating or just looking.
- Hagenbecks Tierpark – This spacious outdoor zoo offers a great chance to see the natural wildlife.
- Elbe Tunnel – One of the best places in Hamburg to take a short walk.
- Old Botanical Gardens – A great place to see the unique plants and flowers of Hamburg.
- The Centre Court of Tennis Stadium – Hamburg’s largest tennis stadium and the home of some great matches.
- Hamburg Marathon – Over 20,000 participate in this Hamburg race, making it the second largest in Germany.
- AOL Arena – Hamburger SV makes their home in this Hamburg arena, which also played host to the World Cup in 2006.
- German International Tennis Championship – See some of Hamburg’s finest tennis players in action.
- Hamburg Sea Devils – For those interested in American football, come see Hamburg’s team.
Hordes of fitness freaks storm the streets of Hamburg in July for the Hamburg City Man Triathlon. We’re talking over 5,000 participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators. Go and cheer on a stranger while you scoff a Bratwurst.
‘Art, Culture and Cuisine’ is the motto for the Duckstein Festival in late July. Expect comedy shows, acrobats, magic, food, music, a variety of cultural events – and beer.
Want to head-bang to some German rock? Head over in August for Rockspektakal, a free rock concert extravaganza.
Late September to early October welcomes Filmfest Hamburg, an international film festival that showcases everything from arty-farty short films to animation.
If you’re in Hamburg around Christmas, stop by the Christmas Market at Rathausmarkt. Sip hot chocolate while shopping for handmade trinkets.
When To Go
Hamburg’s winters can get mighty chilly, so pack the thermals.
Summer averages a pleasant 18°C (64°F), but the humidity can get tough so prepare for the frizz.
If you’re after an event-filled holiday, hit up Hamburg from July. Most of the city’s events are held around the warmer months.
HVV offers a plethora of reliable and well-priced train and bus lines. A weekly ticket gives you more bang for your Euro.
Hamburg is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in Europe, so if you’re up for some pedal action, hire a bike and take your own tour.
While the city has stacks of convenient car-hire services, parking is pretty scarce and pricey.
A fun, vibrant city that often gets lost in the Berlin-Munich shuffle in Germany, Hamburg holds many distinctions within Europe. A foremost port city, second only to Rotterdam in Europe and ninth in the world, Hamburg also has more inhabitants than any other non-capital city on the continent, with 1.8 million.
Statistics aside, Hamburgers are a fortunate lot indeed. As a former member of the medieval Hanseatic League, Hamburg still holds veritable city-state status in Germany and as a result, has a surfeit of history and lore to share with visitors. A diverse and strident cultural hub, the Elbe river city is abuzz with activity and sights throughout the year.
The waterfront area that incorporates the behemoth port of Hamburg is major draw in the city. The port comprises 12% of Hamburg, a testament to how important the city is to commercial transportation in Europe. The waterfront contains museums, restaurants and of course, immense sea vessels.
Planten un Blomen is the main park in Hamburg for busy residents who come for recreation, relaxation and to enjoy landscaped gardens, light and fountain displays.
The Kunsthalle in Hamburg is two museums in one, with an impressive underground tunnel to ferry visitors from one to the other. A modern museum of contemporary art is a wonderful contrast to the austere and original museum, a showcase for art and sculpture that span ancient Greece to the 20th century.
The Krameramtswohnungen represent the best in 17th century half-timbered architecture. The former homes for widows of business owners, donations by the Guild of Small Shopkeepers, line a narrow alley below St. Michaeliskirche. Well worth the effort, the unique buildings now contain boutiques and restaurants.
Hamburg's city hall, or Rathaus, is one of the most impressive in Europe. The lavish palace contains several grand vestibules and ornate details throughout. Although the available tour only covers a small section, a visit to city hall also affords visitors with an opportunity to stroll the Alsterarkaden. Just north of the Rathaus, the Renaissance-style walkway is a great Hamburg spot to shop and people-watch at a canal-side café.
Hamburg's nightlife is notorious around Europe. The city has a notable red light district, with an abundance of strip clubs and bars. The music scene is lively, with local and international bands on regular rotation.
The DOM Market is a gigantic fair held throughout the month of March. With games, rides, food stalls and fireworks, the carnival atmosphere draws up to 3 million visitors.
The No Mercy Heavy Metal Festival in April proves why the music genre is so popular in Germany, with a full slate of international head-bangers.
The Fleetinsel Festival is a major cultural event in the city, held on the beautiful waterway between the Elbe and Alster Lake over 10 days in July.
The Alster Fair in September draws on the scenic backdrop of the lake to offer a diverse assortment of theatrical, dance and musical performances.
A northern situation within Germany brings cold and snowy winters to Hamburg, with wide variations in temperature in the summer months.
- Winter (November to February) -2-7°C
- Spring (March to April) 0-12°C
- Summer (May to August) 7-21°C
- Fall (September to October) 6-18°C
Hamburg on Wikipedia
Hamburg official guide
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